Colorado Supreme Court to Hear Hill Argument


Is stream access law about to change?

The Colorado Supreme Court announced this week that it would hear Roger Hill’s argument in the simmering stream access dispute that originated from a rock-throwing incident on the Arkansas River, but could ultimately change the rights anglers have to access rivers in the Centennial State.

What’s the real status and outlook, and what does it mean to us in the industry?

We asked Mark Squillace, professor of natural resources law at the University of Colorado Law School, who also represents Mr. Hill, and this is how he replied. (Thanks Mark.)

“The Supreme Court agreed to hear the State’s appeal from the lower court’s Hill v. Warsewa decision on the sole issue of whether or not Roger Hill has “standing” to sue. Mark Squillace, who represents the 80-year old fisherman Hill, believes that the Court should have an easy time upholding the lower court’s decision. “Roger was assaulted with baseball-sized rocks by the landowner and threatened in writing with arrest if he returned to the River to fish. The State has argued that Roger Hill lacks standing because his injury is no different from that suffered by any other member of the public. But as we have argued many times, the assault and threats suffered by Roger place him in a fundamentally different position from that of any random member of the general public. Moreover, if Roger were to go back to the River and get arrested he could plainly defend himself on the grounds that he has a legal right to wade in the River. The law does not require Roger to put himself in harm’s way in order to vindicate his legal rights, but that is exactly what the State apparently wants Roger to do.”

Stay tuned. This could get pretty interesting.


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